FARMER FOCUS: Experiencing highs and lows

The ups and downs of four weeks. We had a great night at the Danske Bank farming life awards, winning both beef farmer and farm quality assurance farmer of the year. As one could say, it’s nice to keep your eye in.

A flying visit to the Isle of Man proved very interesting. It is an island funding its farmers with some capital grants, it has a positive animal health policy, and it is looking to the future of the young farmer. I even had tea with the minister. Maybe our ministers should look at the straightforward approach that the Manx people have. My thanks go to Chris for the invite.

Blood testing cattle went like a dream with the new handling system making life, if not easier, definitely safer. We had a straightforward and strong set up made and erected by Geoffrey Turney, who always adds a bit of weight to his gates. We had a clear test and the first bloods show a slightly low reading for selenium in bulled heifers, but no sign of rumen fluke or liver fluke. However, I think I will dose all young cattle anyway.

Silage quality and dry matter is excellent, but I’m having to feed cows twice a day to ensure they all get enough and the greedy cows don’t clear everything up.

At present they’re getting 20kg silage and 3kg straw, plus 60g minerals split into two feeds and we will be bolusing, vaccinating, clipping and dosing closer to Christmas.

Last week my father died. Although he had been ill for a long time, it’s still a shock. He was a man who had definite ideas and thoughts on how things should be done. Indeed, he always told us to get the details right and the rest will take care of itself. We had a large country funeral, just as he would have liked.

Thank you every one for your support over the past few days. There is nothing like a funeral to bring a community together, as we all have fathers and we will all miss them. Robert Chesney 22/5/28-12/11/13

Sam Chesney runs a spring-calving herd of 120 Limousin cross sucklers in Kircubbin, Northern Ireland. He was 2011 Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year

More on this topic

More articles from Sam Chesney 

Read more from our other livestock farmer focus writers

See more